Who doesn’t love a really good ‘bad gimmick?’ It’s sorta like passing by a car crash and admiring it from a far. I am not sure this gimmick was so bad that it was good, but looking back on Xanta Klaus (The evil wrestling version of Santa Claus) it certainly was bad. Today on the blog, we examine how the gimmick came to be and why it didn’t last all that long.
The gimmick of Xanta Klaus came from the minds of Vince McMahon and Vince Russo. According to Jonathan Rechner, the wrestler who portayed the character, this was a gimmick that Vince McMahon wanted to do for a long time. Vince never liked any one person enough to be that character. Rechner had wrestled in the WWF, prior to getting Xanta Klaus. He was used mainly as “enhancement talent” to get the company’s stars over in preliminary matches.
Russo and McMahon thought that Rechner had the perfect look for Xanta Klaus. At the time, Rechner was wrestling in Jim Cornette’s Smoky Mountain Wrestling under the name of ‘Boo Bradley.’ McMahon contacted Cornette, who at this time, had a working relationship with the WWF. They asked Cornette, if Rechner would be interested in playing the character. Rechner agreed to do it, seeing it as a step up to the big time.
Xanta Klaus made his debut on December 17th, 1995 at the In Your House 5: Season’s Beatings pay per view. Savio Vega came out with Santa Claus and started giving away WWF merchandise to fans at ringside. The Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase’s music hit and out he came. Dibiase then proclaimed…as he usually did…that everybody had a price for the Million Dollar Man. He then continued by say…even Santa Claus.
Santa then clobbered Savio with his bag knocking him out. It was revealed that Santa wasn’t really Santa…but his evil brother Xanta…who resided in the South Pole. Xanta Klaus made a couple more appearances with the WWF being managed by Dibiase as a part of his Million Dollar Corporation. If this gimmick sounded utterly ridiculous to you…it was. Even McMahon didn’t see the longevity of Xanta Klaus after the holidays ended. Xanta Klaus soon disappeared.
That wasn’t the end to Jonathan Rechner in the WWF, however. Vince McMahon saw value in the big man and wanted to continue to use him in another gimmick. He wanted Rechner to start training and lose weight and he would be repackaged in a year’s time. Long enough for fans to forget about Xanta Klaus. JJ Dillon made him the offer to basically stay off of TV and just get paid to train. Admittedly, Rechner did not understand the concept of being paid NOT to wrestle elsewhere and told Dillon no thanks.
Jim Cornette explained the situation to Rechner and convinced him to reconsider the offer. That is when the dirt sheets reported that Rechner was drunk in the WWF locker room during a television taping. The WWF offer was no longer on the table. Rechner freaked out about the news and contacted the sheet reporter to find out the news came from Vince Russo. He then called Russo’s office to get an explanation of this untrue story.
After being put on hold for several minutes….a man answered on the other line and Rechner asked if this was Vince. The man said yes and Rechner began cursing and threatening physical harm to Vince over the phone. As it turned out, it was the “other” Vince…as in Vince McMahon who he was threatening and hung up on him. That ended any chance of Rechner getting another opportunity within the company for awhile.
According to Rechner, that phone call did resurrect his career. When Paul Heyman hired Rechner….Scott ‘Raven’ Levy remembered the incident with Vince McMahon and thought he had balls doing it. That is how the name “Balls” Mahoney came to life.
Merry Xmas everybody…be back after the holiday